Twist, Germany

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Coat of arms of Twist
Coat of arms
Twist  is located in Germany
Coordinates: 52°37′N 07°02′E / 52.617°N 7.033°E / 52.617; 7.033Coordinates: 52°37′N 07°02′E / 52.617°N 7.033°E / 52.617; 7.033
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Emsland
 • Mayor Ernst Schmitz (CDU)
 • Total 105.61 km2 (40.78 sq mi)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 9,623
 • Density 91/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 49767
Dialling codes 0 59 36
Vehicle registration EL

Twist is a municipality in the Emsland district, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated directly at the Dutch border.

Situation of the local parts in the municipality of Twist:

Gemeinde Twist.png
  1. Adorf
  2. Hebelermeer
  3. Hesepertwist (Twist-Siedlung)
  4. Neuringe
  5. Rühlermoor/Rühlerfeld
  6. Rühlertwist (Twist-Bült)
  7. Schöninghsdorf


The settlement in the area of the nowadays municipality Twist began quit late around the year 1784. The prince-bishop of Münster Max Franz satisfied the wishes of some "Heuerleute", a kind of farmers, from the close by village Hesepe to settle down in the bog "Twist". This was the starting point of the settlement in Twist, to be more precise it starts at the street of houses what is called "Alt-Hesepertwist" nowadays. The ground was at that time because of its composition of the substances quite infertile and did just allow a meager livelihood and the people did not live in comfort. The construction of the canal "Nord-Süd-Kanal" around 100 years later brought significant improvements in the quality of life of the people, because the canal did allow a systematic drainage and removement of the peat.

In the 1950s finally came the economically revival on the one hand by finding bigger oil reservoirs and on the other hand by commissioning of the production site of the Dutch plastics company Wavin. These two factors were over some decades the driving forces for the economical rise of Twist.

In 1986 Twist was celebrating its 200. anniversary. The anniversary festivity was ending with a pageant which had respect to the history and actual circumstances in Twist, for instance one of the numerous parade floats was showing a detail replica of the church St. Georg.

In the 1990s these two columns of the Twist economy came more and more into difficulties and many people lost their jobs. With finishing the autobahn 31 at the end of the 1990s this negative development could be stopped by settling down new companies especially in the industrial area close to the autobahn.

In August/September 2011 Twist celebrates its 225. anniversary. The 10 days lasting festival did start with a "Twist-Schau" (Twist Show). This show was performed like a play in Low German language and telling the history of Twist in a humorous way, with its good old times, but also the very hard living conditions of the first settlers, the lost of loved family members during WWII and the upcoming prosperity by the fast economical rise for the last 60 years that offers people of about 30 different nations a new home in Twist. One of the following days of the festival was themed as "Tag der Vereine" (Day of the Associations) and presenting all sportive, cultural and welfare associations in Twist. It was showing the widespread activity range for spare time and hobby. Another motto of one of the festival days was "Twist macht Musik" (Twist plays music) where all choruses in Twist were performing their songs and left a very impressed audience. Part of the festival were also concerts of Queen and Pink Floyd cover bands. The festival finally ends by presenting a pageant with respect to historical and present developments in Twist.

Origin of the name[edit]

The origin of the name of the municipality Twist has nothing to do with the dance style of the same title. Due to a long disagreement with the Dutch Kingdom about the way the border between both countries should take it was common language use to speak about "Twistrich" or "Twist Gebiet" (Twist area). In Low German "Twistrich" or "Twist Gebiet" has a meaning similar to "disputed border". This language was the official language at that time and is still partly in usage. The name is commonly mispronounced as locals pronounce it "Tweest".[2]

New research results of Jürgen Udolph, a know scientist in the fields of onomastics, are showing that the name Twist has probably its origin in the words "twistel" in the meaning of "Zwiesel" or "Zweiung", that means something is at a bifurcation. In this meaning also words like "zwieträchtig", "twisten" and "in Zweispalt, Streit sein" (in English: discrepancy, dispute) belong to the explanation of the origin of the name Twist. The conclusion of Udolph is, that the name of Twist means something like "separated settlement, a place located at a (stream) bifurcation".


Church St. Vinzenz von Paul zu Hebelermeer[edit]

The parish church in the district Heblermeer housed two rococo busts of Ignatius of Loyola and Francisco de Xavier created by the sculptor Johann Heinrich König (1705–1784).

Church St. Franziskus[edit]

In December 1928 the construction works of the church did start. The architect Theo Burlage designed the church in the style of expressionism. One year after starting the construction the first service in the church was celebrated on December 8, 1929. In August 1930 bishop Berning did consecrate the church. The altar crucifix was designed by Wolfdietrich Stein. With a size of 5 meters in the height it fills the complete height and width of the sanctuary.

The church spire has on three of its sides clock faces. In opposite to ordinary clock faces, these ones are not showing numbers. The top figure is an Iron Cross with the date of 1914 and 1918 (duration of World War I). The other 33 figures at the clock faces are name tags with the names of the soldiers killed in action of the villages Schönighsdorf and Provinzialmoor.

Protestant church in Neuringe[edit]

An exceptionally feature is the Protestant church in the district Neuringe, because this church has one of the oldest and most valuable organ (constructed in 1719) of the Protestant national church. The church itself was constructed in 1904. As in many villages at that time, there was no money for both construction of the church and buying the inventory. Therefore a used organ was bought. Sometimes, like in this case, the used ones have nowadays a higher value than organs that were built in the 1900s.

Center of Twist[edit]

In the center of the municipality Twist are numerously retailers located such as grocery stores, travel agency, a bank and so on. Also the city hall and the police station is situated in the center of Twist. A special attraction of the center is the museum for crude oil and natural gas (Erdöl-Erdgas-Museum Twist) and also the "Heimathaus Twist". The Heimathaus Twist is known for legendary blues, folk, and jazz concerts.


In 2006 the German counties Emsland and Grafschaft Bentheim founded together with the Dutch county Drenthe the "Internationaler Naturpark Moor" (International Nature Park Bog). This park stretches across big parts of the municipality Twist. The park has a unique biota and is every year the wintering grounds of numerous migratory birds.

Up to the colonization and cultivation in the 19th century, the area was one of the biggest peat moss areas in Europe with a size of more than 1,200 km². The last years several projects started to block ditches and get a water logging of the area for a renaturation. A very successful example for the renaturation in the nature park is the Dutch part of the park, where already in the 1960s first projects started and did lead to a fully restored peat moss area where very rare plants and animals found a new home.

Recreational activity & culture[edit]


The "Heimathaus Twist" is a reconstructed old farmer house located in the center of Twist. It's known for blues- and folk concerts which are taking place many times a year. However, also several events especially for children are organized by the team of the "Heimathaus Twist". Directly beside the "Heimathaus Twist" is the museum for crude oil and natural gas located. It shows several exhibits to this issue and the historical development of the extraction of crude oil and natural gas. The crude oil and natural gas industry has a long history in the area of Twist wherefore it was sometimes also called the German Texas.

Recreational activity[edit]

In every district of Twist are several sport clubs where soccer is the dominant sport, but basketball, ping-pong, competitive dance, horseback riding, swimming, tennis, handball and gymnastics are also offered.

Family policy[edit]

In May 2007 the town council decided measures to support families with children. Hence families with two or three children get a special concession on a building ground for a one-family house. Families with four children get a building ground for free. For this limited in time rule (till 31 December 2009) counts children which are while the acquisition younger than 15 years and also children which are born 10 years after the acquisition.

Economy and Infrastructure[edit]


By car[edit]

Twist has a direct connection to the Autobahn 31 which acts as north-south route between the North Sea and the Ruhr. Twist is also connected to Europastraße 233 which is constructed on German side like an Autobahn till the connection point with Autobahn 31 and on Dutch side it already has the status as Autobahn A 37. This Europastraße (E 233) connects the metropolis Rotterdam, Amsterdam with Hamburg and finally Scandinavia. On German side it's intended for the next years to follow the Dutch side and to enlarge the road over the whole distance to an Autobahn.

Air traffic[edit]

The closest international airport is Münster Osnabrück International Airport in the German city Greven. The airport is about 90 km away from Twist and easily to reach by using the Autobahn 31 and later changing to Autobahn 30.

In Düsseldorf is the closest international hub for intercontinental flights. The distance to the airport is approximately 170 km (1,5 hours by car) and for the whole travel distance it's possible to use the Autobahn. The Düsseldorf International Airport is directly to reach by the Autobahn 31 and later, after changing to Autobahn 44, leaving at the exit airport (Ausfahrt Flughafen).

The Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is another airport close by. The airport is about 200 km away and fast to reach by the Dutch high-speed road network. The Dutch "Autobahn" A 37 starts in Twist and for the whole distance to the airport an Autobahn can be used.


Till the middle of the nineteen-nineties the crude oil-, natural gas- and peat industry dominated the economy in Twist. Especially in these industries many employees lost their job the last years. Since then many small and medium size business companies settle down in the area of Twist especially in the industrial park at the autobahn. The biggest employer in Twist is the Dutch company Wavin. This company is European market leader for plastic pipe systems.


The last years the tourism also becomes an important factor, whereas the focus of the tourism is in the district Neuringe. In addition of several holiday flats there is also a campground with a public lake for bathing and a farm for horseback riding. Especially this farm enjoys great popularity at the young guests. Furthermore on the area of this farm is an indoor children's playground which is especially children-tailored for children up to an age of 12 years.


In Twist are 5 grade schools and one junior high. After a bigger replacement and a new constructed building in 2007, this junior high acts as full-time school nowadays. In 2009 also the grade schools were transformed into full-time schools. By doing bigger restoration works at the schools it's nowadays guaranteed that the students get a warm meal and be supervised over the day.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Landesbetrieb für Statistik und Kommunikationstechnologie Niedersachsen, 102 Bevölkerung - Basis Zensus 2011, Stand 31. Dezember 2013 (Tabelle K1020014)
  2. ^ Ems Vechte Welle, published July 26, 2007